When it comes to titles, two broad categories exist: descriptive and suggestive. Descriptive titles are what they say they are. They describe the topic of the post, and they do so clearly and succinctly. Suggestive titles are hooks; that is, they lure a reader into reading more either through a provocative statement, a particular attitude, or some sort of ambiguity.
Descriptive titles tend to be used in more academic or professional settings. The reason is simple: descriptive titles don’t ruffle feathers nor do they seek to provoke a specific response. Descriptive titles are neutral. They announce the topic. Nothing more, nothing less.
Suggestive titles are different. They are meant to capture attention; thus, they are more often found in informal communications, such as popular magazines or blogs. Even then, differences occur. An article in a popular magazine may not have to be as careful with keywords as a blog post does. Despite that difference, the titles are alike in most ways. They “hook” a reader through an inflammatory statement, sometimes a statement found within the article or post itself. They also may “hook” a reader through a familiar phrase, a trending name, or a memorable image.
Choosing which type of title to use depends on a number of factors. Audience is one. The purpose of the article or post is another as is the topic itself. Writers shouldn’t worry about which title to choose during the writing stage; they should consider it during revision. The initial draft or two provides a clearer sense of direction, which can help to determine the tone and style of the title. The title, in turn, brings the post or article into sharper focus.
Titles, then, belong to two broad categories, descriptive and suggestive. The first is primarily used in academic and professional settings. The second, in informal settings although it can transgress the boundaries of formal writing at times. The choice of which type of title to use is up to the writer and his or her sense of the topic, the reason for writing about the topic, and his or her intended audience.
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